|Ship Class||Mahan-class Destroyer|
|Builder||Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, United States|
|Laid Down||20 Mar 1934|
|Launched||26 Mar 1936|
|Commissioned||1 Sep 1936|
|Decommissioned||9 Oct 1945|
|Displacement||1500 tons standard|
|Armament||5x5in guns, 12x21in torpedo tubes|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
After Drayton's shakedown cruise to Europe from 6 Oct to 5 Dec 1936, she Drayton underwent final trials and acceptance, then sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, United States on 6 Jun 1937 to join the Scouting Force at San Diego, California on 19 Jun. On 4 Jul, she got underway to take part in the fruitless search for the lost aviator Amelia Earhart. She returned to San Diego 30 Jul. She served off the west coast of the United States, Hawaii, and in the Caribbean Sea for the next two years. On 12 Oct 1939, she was assigned to base in Pearl Harbor, where she operated out of through the start of the Pacific War.
When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, she at sea with carrier Lexington; she returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Dec after spending a few days searching for the Japanese fleet. Between 24 Dec 1941 and 7 Jan 1942, she escorted a convoy to Christmas Island, making two attacks on submarines en route. On 11 Jan, she sailed with Enterprise as escort for Enterprise's mission to strike Japanese facilities on Bougainville, which took place on 20 Feb; she returned to Pearl Harbor on 24 Feb. After escorting a tanker to Suva Harbor, Fiji, she sailed for the United States, arriving at San Diego on 5 Apr, and performed training exercises and patrol duties until 1 Aug 1942.
Returning to Pearl Harbor in Aug 1942, Drayton sailed for the Solomon Islands on 17 Nov. On 29 Nov, she sailed with Task Force 67 to intercept Japanese transports en route to Guadalcanal, and came across them on the night of 30 Nov. In the action that later came to be known as the Battle of Tassafaronga, she fired two torpedoes at 2307, while her fellow destroyer Perkins fired eight, followed up by gunfire, which surprised the Japanese convoy. At the end of the action, this battle set up by the Americans turned out to be a humiliation (thought that would not be realized until after the war) as the Japanese convoy succeeded in their primary mission after heavily damaging the American task force. Drayton rescued 128 survivors of the sinking cruiser Northampton and returned to Espiritu Santo on 2 Dec. She remained in the Solomon Islands until Mar 1943 and performed a range of missions ranging from the bombardment of Munda, New Georgia to escorting transports for the Russell Islands.
Sailing from Noum»a on 13 May 1943, Drayton escorted a transport convoy to Townsville, Australia. Through summer 1943, she escorted many transport missions between Australia and Milne Bay, New Guinea and provided gunfire support on against Japanese positions at Lae on 4 Sep and at Finschhafen on 22 Sep. After a brief overhaul Brisbane, Australia, she escorted transports to Arawe, New Britain on 15 Dec 1943. On 26 Dec, she covered US Marine landings near Cape Gloucester, New Britain. On 2 Jan 1944, she escorted transports from Buna to attack Saidor, both on New Guinea. After brief replenishment at Sydney, Australia, she patrolled the Bismarck Archipelago for the following month.
In Feb 1944, Drayton carried troops to Los Negros Island of the Admiralty Islands for the invasion, then remained there to provide gunfire support. On 4 Mar, she carried reinforcements from Milne Bay to Los Negros. On 12 Mar, she bombarded Pityilu Island then sailed with LST ships for Seadler Harbor, Manus Island, both in the Admiralty Islands. She sailed to New Guinea, then escorted transports from Milne Bay to Canton Island of the Phoenix Islands. From Canton Island, she sailed for the west coast of the United States, arriving at San Francisco, California for an overhaul.
After the overhaul, Drayton held training exercises off Pearl Harbor. She returned to the South Pacific on 8 Aug 1944 to patrol the Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands that had been skipped over in the island hopping campaign. On 20 Oct 1944, she joined the 7th Fleet at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, and sailed for Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands. In the morning of 5 Dec, while screening a convoy of LCM and LCI(L) ships to San Pedro Bay in the Philippine Islands, she was attacked by a twin-engine bomber which scored a near miss, killing two and wounding seven of her crew. About an hour later, she repulsed a group of strafing aircraft. Later in the same morning, she engaged 10 to 12 Japanese fighters; one of them crashed into a 5-inch gun mount, killing six and wounding 12 men. After completing the convoy mission, she sailed unescorted to Manus Island for repairs.
Between 9 Jan to and 18 Feb 1945, Drayton provided gunfire support from Lingayen Gulf, Luzon for troop fighting on the ground. She also provided similar support for operations at Mangarin Bay Puerto Princesa, Cebu, Ormoc Bay, and Masbate City. On 23 Apr, she sailed to Borneo to support the campaign there, screening for larger ships at Tarakan from 1 to 27 May and at Balikpapan from 1 to 2 Jul. She returned to Manila on 29 Jul 1945.
Drayton's final journey took place before the Pacific War ended. On 7 Aug, the day after Hiroshima was devastated by the first atomic bomb, she sailed for the United States from Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands. She arrived at New York on 12 Sep, and was decommissioned a month later. She was sold for scrap on 20 Dec 1946.
Source: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
USS Drayton Operational Timeline
|1 Sep 1936||Drayton was commissioned into service.|
|9 Oct 1945||Drayton was decommissioned from service.|
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 3
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Borneo Campaign
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945